NONFICTION

Code Cracking for Kids: Secret Communications Throughout History, with 21 Codes and Ciphers

Chicago Review. Oct. 2019. 144p. pap. $16.99. ISBN 9781641601382.
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Gr 3-8–Codes and hidden messages can be used for everything from playground games to the protection of government secrets. Daigneau simplifies the long history of code-making for a younger audience, from decoding the Rosetta Stone to understanding how documents in cybersecurity contribute to user safety. The book is easy to understand but retains the depth that will engage more advanced readers. Step-by-step instructions for developing ciphers and codes make this title really shine. From simple letter scrambles to detailed codes, there are enough different activities to accommodate kids of a variety of ages and with different skill sets, though some projects may require adult supervision. A few activities are more practical, like creating maps and developing a home emergency plan.
VERDICT Worthy of any library or history classroom. A range of readers, from elementary-age code breakers to rising high school students, will enjoy this title.

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